How Readest Thou?

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by Nick Galieti

Many quote and study the parable of the Good Samaritan as recorded in the New Testament. Fewer consider the setup; the scenario in which the parable is given as an answer to a question from a doubting lawyer seeking to disrupt or deconstruct the gospel of Jesus Christ. The account is recorded in Luke 10:25-28 as follows:

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

In continuing his attempts to find a conflict in what Jesus was teaching, the lawyer also asks for a definition of who his “neighbor” is, prompting the parable of the Good Samaritan. What is the significance of these short verses that lead up to one of the great parables of the New Testament?

 Many in the world today see organized religion, including the Mormon or LDS Faith, similarly to this lawyer. Even some in the ranks of the LDS faith seem to question what has been taught and written in a spirit of temptation and antagonism, rather than a spirit of humility and learning. In one way, the question that is asked of this lawyer, “How Readest Thou?” can be asked of all.

How do we approach gospel learning? Are we seeking truth? Are we seeking to live what we have learned? The lawyer in the scriptural account demonstrated that recitation of the scriptures can be a common thing. The question was not, “Hast thou read?” The question centers around how the law is read. Jesus Christ offers a key insight concerning the proper way to study the gospel: to do. In other words, to live the gospel is what brings a true fullness in life.

This simple example in the scriptures holds a profound teaching designed to help all to live a full and faithful life. It is a two-fold approach that is so simple in principle, yet so far reaching. First, it is important to study the law (read the gospel), to know the gospel. Second, equally important, if not more so, it is to then live what we learn. How we act has a great deal to do with the way in which we “readest” or interpret the scriptures.

  • How are we to answer the Master’s question, “How readest thou?”
  • Is our behavior a sign of how we read the scriptures?

One Response to How Readest Thou?

  1. Bonnie says:

    My best friend and I were talking last night about this concept of living virtues as much as talking about them, and the natural progression from any virtue to these two commandments, and then on to being what these two commandments represent, which is to be concerned with the immortality and eternal life of all mankind (or to think as God thinks.) It’s long been interesting to me that it doesn’t matter what virtue you talk about, eventually you begin talking about others, because they are all part of one great whole – to love as God loves. Those two commandments are designed to get us there most efficiently. My regular reading is in the Doctrine and Covenants right now, and I just read today about how the Lord gives commandments and people don’t follow, then they say that God is not faithful and deny the covenants. We test God and God tests us through commandments – through the doing. Funny to read about how silly the lawyer is and then sometimes find ourselves wrapped up in debate that is just as pointless.

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